Tennis champion Roger Federer, winner of 20 Grand Slam titles, after a fourteen-month break from the circuit, announces his return to the field at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha, scheduled for 8 March. The 39-year-old Swiss tweeted "The countdown to Doha begins.
One week to go." Bad news for American tennis fans, however, because Federer will not take the field for the American tournament of Miami Open, the first Masters 1000 of the season scheduled at Hard Rock Stadium, from 22 March next.
In anticipation of Roger Federer’s long-awaited return to the tour, ATP recently spoke with two 'superfans' about their bond with the Swiss. One of those superfans is India’s Sunita Sugita, who has been supporting Federer since 2003 and has also watched over 100 matches of the 20-time Major champion.
Sugita reflects on Roger Federer
Sunita Sugita revealed that she first watched her idol in action during the 2008 edition of Wimbledon. But her most special encounter with Roger Federer happened in 2012 at Basel, where the 39-year-old stunned her by remembering her name.
"I literally couldn’t stop shaking the first time I saw him on Centre Court (at Wimbledon)," Sugita went on. "I almost collapsed when he called me by my name (in Basel). I don’t remember what I said to him.
I was speechless. He remembered my name!" The Indian indirectly admitted to having spent extensively on her travels to watch Roger Federer, but asserted that it was money well spent. "I cannot calculate it all," Sugita said.
"But it's always worth it. Roger is my passion, he’s my idol. I’m going to spend all my money on him." For Sugita, it matters little if Roger Federer doesn't end his career with the most Slams or even if he fails to add to his current tally of 20.
Federer will always hold a special place in her heart, irrespective of his tennis feats. "He has given us everything he has," Sugita added. "It’s not just about numbers, there is so much more to Roger than the number 20 [Majors].
I don’t want to cry when he retires, I want to celebrate him." Coming back to Federer, over the years, he’s created an identity for himself that remains unmatched. However, with time passing by, his rivals Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have come close to dethroning the Swiss star from his throne.
Nadal won the French Open last year, and in doing so, he equaled Roger’s record of holding twenty Grand Slams. In the current week, Djokovic equaled Federer’s record of holding the number one ranking for 310 weeks.